Already Won

Victories you’ve achieved are ones you live from, and can share with others.
Sharing testimonies increases faith, so sometimes it’s okay to just pray for yourself and ask for a victory. Maybe the lesson you’re supposed to learn is not HOW to do something better except to lean on God, and ask for a win so you can live from victory instead of for it. It’s day’s exactly like this one for which I got my arm tattoo that says, “Already won.” It’s hard to remember that we live from the victory which has already been won on the cross, instead of always striving for survival. I have to believe that Jesus has overcome the world because that’s what he said and I can’t afford to believe differently than he said, but there’s a difference in believing and knowing. I’ve learned this to be one of my greatest battles in life. I am quick to know with my mind. It makes sense so I believe it but how much do I , really? When I’m faced with a direct challenge to what God has said, how far can I go before I stop believing? When do I lose my peace? When do my emotions seem to become more powerful than the solid truth that is God’s unfailing word?

Today was such a test. I write this speaking from cerebral faith and belief, but with a broken heart and hoping to see God move this mountain. I know what he’s said, but I may have reached the end of my faith for today. Perhaps that’s why it’s called a gift of faith. Because when it makes sense it’s not hard to believe, but when you’re challenged and it DOESN’T make sense it is still no less true. It’s just harder to keep believing. That deep breath of peace, the one you have when it makes no sense but you’ve given up working it over in your mind or trying to make sense of it because you just feel like it’s going to be okay. Is that the gift of faith?

I took my car into the shop for some well overdue repairs. My timing belts (yes, two in a Subaru) needed to be replaced six months ago. For the mechanics reading this, my tension pulley was broken so it had essentially been rubbed flat on one side and was tearing through the ribs like a hungry man fresh off a deserted island. I knew it would be a couple hundred dollars, but after keeping an eye on the damage for a few months I finally decided it could wait no longer. Turned out to need much more work than I knew and today was a three hundred dollar bill, with an additional $5,000 prognosis. Let me also acknowledge that this is entirely a first world problem! I get it, I have a car and at that one worth putting money into keeping. but for a single mom, or anyone for that matter, just trying to figure out how to keep putting one foot in front of the other, this is kind of a devastating blow. I sat in the mechanics office working  (praise the Lord I can bring work with me!) frantically scribbling down my budget, while the office manager kept giving me updates on what they found, like a scrub nurse in the ER. I kept re-working it to accommodate the days repair, feeling less and less hopeful each time.

So I ask myself again, how much do I really believe in God’s goodness? I drove home with my most urgent needs covered, but still a heavy heart, resolute to keep my head up. my resolution failed me. I had found the end of my confidence “of this; That I will see the goodness of the Lord in the lad of the living.” Psalm 27:13. Good thing God can handle our doubt. I believe in my head that He is good and will take care of my every need, but I can’t help feeling doubt in my heart. My circumstances cast such a heavy shadow.

I’ll be wrestling this for a while I’m sure. All I know to do is keep reminding myself that feelings are temporary, so is my car and my circumstances. God’s faithfulness is eternal and unwavering no matter how I feel. And it’s okay to feel bad about it for a while. Maybe this will be one more testimony I can stand on, and share with others in the future, that they may have more faith too. In the mean time I’ll do my best to worship who I know God is, and use it as my weapons of war agains doubt and fear.

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Settling In.

Ah, it feels like home. The Christmas tree was the first to go up, the beds are made and the fire has been roaring. Somehow, I’ve been able to keep the house mostly tidy, but I think I’m attributing that to the fact that we’ve spent less than half of our waking hours IN the house. I am so happy to be settling in to our farm house, and farm life, but let me suggest that moving the week before Christmas is not the best plan. In our case, it was mostly unavoidable. Lease terms and home rental legalities reigned in our decisions, but honestly?….

Sparing the rant, the past two weeks have been fueled by coffee and support from the incredible people in my life, including Sterling, my threenager. Yes, he has had his moments and napping has been sparse but I’m genuinely impressed with how well he has handled this extreme change in life style, and how much he is thriving! I shouldn’t be so surprised, but it’s been a joy watching him love this new season of life as much as I do.

We’ve overcome impressively low temperatures and serious snowfall on moving day, maintaining a 40 hour work/preschool week while adding in about half of our committed farm chores, last minute Christmas shopping and gift crafting, Staying up until all hours of the morning to finish the days’s “to-do” list, all while navigating life in a new town. It’s been awesome to see what I am capable of in an adaptive capacity, and has revealed strength in an area I should have been expecting to be challenged. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and its only been 12 days.

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Helping Ms. Beckie collect eggs

The end of December is a naturally reflective time of year. I do my best to live a thankful life and have found this wild, busy season to still be overwhelmed with things, moments, and people to be thankful for. In this moment I am incredibly thankful for learning to go to bed even if I haven’t put that rewarding check mark next to every task on my list for the day. Personal fact, I have a hard time going to sleep before tidying my room. Most nights, if I haven’t already, I’ll even make my bed before crawling in. I’m not so uptight about everything, but one of my quirks is obsessively tidying my room. I’ve even come to appreciate letting go of that.

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Peacocks on the roof.

In learning to stretch my adaptability, I’ve discovered a deeper thankfulness for the serenity prayer, and applying it a little more practically (as opposed to theoretically) to my life. Parenthood, and adulthood alike, demand people take more responsibility in life and I think I’ve been mistaking that as demand to be in control. I do not have control, nor do I need to take control of many aspects of life. I believe that to be a vital differentiation. Control puts the outcome of all things on your shoulders while responsibility only requires you to manage how you respond to the world and events around you. Many things are outside my control, but I can take responsibility for how I respond to those things and stop holding myself accountable to the things in which I have no sway anyway.

Danny Silk speaks about relationships in his teaching called Loving On Purpose and it struck me when he said, in regards to a parent responding harshly to a child’s poor choice,

” you say, “I do this because I love you” but that’s not true. You’re doing it because you want to control me.”

Two days later, I should have remembered this a little better, but thankfully I have someone I love to gently remind me.

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Perhaps his favorite, the baby chicks.

Sterling was eating cereal for a quick snack before a VERY late attempt at a nap. I was exhausted and wanted a nap myself. I sat on the couch while he finished up and as his hunger was quickly appeased he turned into his over-tired-silly-self. He started shoving his whole face into the bowl and looking up at Alex and I with the drippiest milk goatee and cheerio ‘stache I have EVER seen…. The grin on his face was adorable but my exhaustion lead me to tired-plea with him to stop goofing around, making a mess, and just eat. Without missing a beat Alex leans over and kindly reminds me to let him be 3.

I supposed in this situation I could have (and would have) tried to control Sterling, and hurry him off to a nap. I guarantee it would have led to a stressful fight toward the bed and absolutely no nap. Instead, we laughed at his silly personality, celebrated his goofiness and then he bounced off to a brief nap. I had no business controlling him, nor do I want to teach him that he should be controlled. I did take responsibility for how I responded, and turns out, we all had a better day for it. I wanted a peaceful surrounding, and went about it by trying to control my son, when instead I was much more successful by instead taking responsibility for my reaction, my inside world.

“If you put a pauper in a palace he will turn the palace into a prison. If you put a prince in into a prison he will turn the prison into a palace. That’s the story of Joseph. You always reproduce the environment around that you cultivate within you. ”
– Kris Vallotton

There is so much more to that quote, but for now, I’ll leave it at this.

Farm Life, Day One.

If you would have told me, six months ago today, that before Christmas I would be living on a 300 acre farm in a city an hour away from where I was living at the time,  I probably would have looked at you like you were crazy and asked what phsychadelics you ate for breakfast. These past six months have been host to some of the most wonderful, fast paced, intentional, and unforeseen events of my life. I truly wish I had done a better job of keeping this little journal updated as the story unfolded so far, but all the same, I have a feeling that the best is yet to come. I’ve gone from mountain-mom-stuck-in-the-city, to farm-living, remote-workin’ mamma. Here’s our story, starting now.

December 16th was the official move in day, despite having moved our things to the farm a week prior. Sterling and I arrived Friday evening, just in time to have dinner and visit with my boyfriend, Alex, and his family, before Grammy left to spend some of the winter in California. We settled in and built a fire that evening, enjoying its warmth in the glow of the christmas tree lights. The rest of the weekend followed suit, learning what my beginning responsibilities on the farm would be, continuing the seemingly unending project of unpacking box after box, and learning how to most efficiently heat the house with a wood burning stove. The stove is not a new skill for me, but one that absolutely needs sharpening. The weather has been merciless. Our first four days here have been sub-freezing temperatures without breaking. It has been such a lovely change of pace to wake up to the lowing of 60 cattle at pasture out our door, as opposed to the whistle and rattle of trains and cars passing all night long.

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Playing in one of the cattle pastures

I spent most of Monday feeling like I was living a dream, working my professional life, as well as interacting with the animals that keep my family fed and healthy. I took my darling boy to his first day at his new preschool, and he ran off joyfully after kissing me goodbye. Any parent can attest to the reassurance of their child’s joyful departure, especially in a new place. After arriving back at the farm, I set up my desk and “went to work” for the dental practices, beginning my day job. Between responsibilities for work, I got to get down to brass tacks washing basket after basket of eggs and cleaning the community rooms, kitchen and store. This level of multitasking was challenging, to say the least, and will take some serious getting used to. admittedly, I may have been slightly distracted by the deep feeling of value in the work my hands were doing. Selfish, maybe, but the emotional high of feeling like your work is deeply valuable makes it easier to be consistently joyful.

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The first of many baskets of eggs

Let me tell you the highlights of this farm where we now live and work. Lake Village Farm is over 300 acres, and is a non-profit organization prioritizing the preservation of the land and livestock farming practices that focuses on the animals quality of life. For those of you that know me personally, are you thinking, “This is SO Morgan!” yet? There is also a huge priority placed on education and helping the community get back in touch with where exactly our food comes from.(p.s. it’s not It shouldn’t be a factory!) Lake Village is home to at least 15 other families who actively contribute to the daily running of the farm, some of which have been here for over 15 years. The farm borders a lake, and is one of the most diverse and lively landscapes I’ve had the blessing of enjoying. This is the beginning of something new and beautiful, and I can not wait to keep sharing my crash course in the agricultural lifestyle.

I live an incredible life, and the gift of the lifestyle I was invited into is the best thing I never would have asked for this holiday season. Thank you Lord, for knowing me better than I know myself, and giving me more than I feel I deserve. What a gracious God, to love me this lavishly.